Arte Povera – the Italian term for ‘poor art’ or ‘impoverished art’ – was among the most significant and influential avant-garde movements of the late 1960s, and Mario Merz is one of its most important proponents. Pantere Sul Cono is an impressive wall piece featuring a canvas made with spray paint and charcoal depicting a panther balancing precariously on two cones. The cones and the Fibonacci numbers in neon refer to a mathematical principle which is often found in nature, for example, in the spirals of a snail shell or the petals of a flower.
Mario Merz (born 1925 in Milan) produced expansive mixed-media paintings, sculptures, and installations. He was chosen by curator and critic Germano Celant for his now legendary group exhibition ‘arte povera’ in 1967. In 1968, he presented the first of his igloos – a symbol for the human need for shelter, food, and connection to nature – that became a motif in his work. In 1970 he introduced the Fibonacci numbers into his artistic practice, transmitting the concept visually through the use of the numerals and the figure of a spiral. Merz died 2003 in Milan.
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